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Tara Jane O'Neil, M Ward, Kunek...

Tara Jane O'Neil -- "Blue Light Room"

From In Circles on Quarterstick Records

Portland, OR based artist Tara Jane O'Neil is a multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, engineer, and painter. In Circles, her fourth solo album on Quarterstick Records, is an acoustic gem blessed with her unique brand of sonic trickery. She’s created an album where a subtle but sure-handed mastery of sounds and experimentation with her craft share time equally with gentle acoustics and deeply personal lyrics.

M Ward -- "To Go Home"

From Post-War on Merge Records

Post War is the fourth M. Ward album and his most absorbing to date. Its songs unravel their world wearied tales of life, love and human kindness with an innate and special grace, helped in part by the very talented friends who join him on this record, including Neko Case and Mike Mogis as well as old “Monsters Of Folk” touring buddy Jim James (of My Morning Jacket).

Kunek -- "Coma"

From Flight of the Flynns on Playtyme Entertainment

Kunek's debut album, Flight of the Flynns, offers 12 songs that reflect the theory that music is a delicate intersection of science and emotion. The band gracefully moves through the music, seamlessly blending layer upon layer of complex harmonies propelled by Tabish, Jon Mooney (keyboards and guitar), Eric Kiner (lead guitar, lap steel, keys) and Jenny Hsu on cello as well as the spellbinding rhythms of bassist Josh Onstott and drummer Colby Owens.

My Brightest Diamond -- "Disappear"

From Bring Me the Workhorse on Asthmatic Kitty

My Brightest Diamond is Shara Worden, granddaughter of an Epiphone-playing traveling evangelist, fathered by a National Accordion Champion, and mothered by a church organist. Spanish tangos, Sunday morning gospel, classical and jazz were the accompaniment to her home life. Her first song was recorded at age three and by age eight she was studying piano, performing in community musical productions and singing in her Pentecostal church choir, in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where she spent most of her childhood.

The 10 Best Debut Albums of 2009

Continuing our celebration of PopMatters' 20th anniversary, we revisit our 10 picks for the best debut albums of 2009. It turns out our selections were prescient as many of these artists have gone on to storied careers. Travel back to 2009 and see them again for the first time.

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The 60 Best Albums of 2009

PopMatters turns 20 years old this October and we're beginning to celebrate our history by taking you back in time a decade ago. Obama was in the White House and the musical times were very good indeed. Revisit 2009 through its best albums.

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